How are you battling the heat?
Valerie Stunning wants a better Las Vegas—one that’s intersectional and filled with plenty of ice cream. But not just any ice cream. Bougie ice cream. Indulgent ice cream. Adult ice cream.
Stunning founded Paradise City Creamery last May, combining her knack for gourmet, plant-based ice cream with another of her passions: advocating for sex workers.
For years, the “Head Creamstress,” stripper, writer, activist and former burlesque dancer made artisan ice cream as a hobby and for her friends. Eventually she realized it was tasty enough to sell to the 18+ masses.
Last summer Paradise City Creamery ran a monthly pop-up inside Downtown’s Jammyland Cocktail Bar & Reggae Kitchen and also had a booth at Life Is Beautiful. On January 17, Stunning will celebrate a new residency at Artifice (along with a new winter menu featuring four new flavors), which will continue every third Friday through 2020.
Just don’t expect your average trip to Baskin-Robbins. There’s a peepshow-inspired photo booth, plus lots of gold and neon, and each flavor (starting at $12) comes decked out with its own signature toppings, like dripping, dazzling disco cherries. And there’s a sexy story to accompany each cone.
“Our yuzu-wasabi [flavor] is inspired by shopping for a sex toy,” Stunning says. And the espresso chip flavor is “inspired by my work as a day-shift stripper—how I would be in New York drinking my coffee on the subway with a full face of makeup while everyone’s wearing their suit and tie.”
It’s a tongue-and-cheek way of bringing two seemingly opposite worlds together, breaking the ice around conversations about sex and sex work in a fun and delicious way. “These stories tie in everything and cater to that no-shame, no-guilt celebration,” Stunning says.
With sexy-meets-glam marketing, Stunning has already made a name for Paradise City Creamery on social media, and with her motivational, no-holds-barred writing (she’s written for Hustler, and she blogs at valeriestunning.com). She’s a cheerleader for her community, and hopes her playful, gourmet ice cream can get folks to see a bigger picture.
Stunning explains that part of Paradise Creamery’s goal “is to create visibility and promote intersectionality”—a theory and way of looking at discrimination through multiple avenues that often include race, class and gender. “This is the world I come from. Community organizing is what I will always be about, and so to have this platform gives me an entryway to another type of person who may not have considered these issues before.”
Most importantly, Stunning says she wants people who are typically excluded to feel welcome. “Everything is constantly catered to straight, white, f*cking middle-aged people,” Stunning says. “I feel like, if I’m able to hire people that I want to celebrate and represent who I identify as, it really contributes to this conversation about visibility.”
She’s quick to add that Paradise City Creamery’s ice cream game is serious, too. A one-day-only white cacao and truffle ice cream was featured at Picnic in the Alley in October, and her Mezcal vanilla bean and balsamic caramel flavors will also be out on the 17th.
“I really strive for this balance between the strong messaging behind the brand, but also, we’re not f*cking around culinary-wise,” Stunning says. “We’re using really high-end ingredients.Everything we do is top-notch and bougie.”
by Leslie Ventura for the Las Vegas Weekly
dievca’s Foodie friend introduced her to Ivan Ramen on the Lower East Side.
Fabulous! But a pain to get to for dievca.
dievca hadn’t visited the Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop on the West Side until she took her Scandinavian friend, this week. It was a good call. The shop is located at the Gotham West Market on 600 11th Ave, in Hell’s Kitchen.
Along with Ramen, dievca and her friend sampled the Ample Hill Creamery offerings.
More about Ivan Ramen:
Ivan’s journey began with a dishwashing job at a sushi bar when he was 15. He discovered a culture and cuisine that would shape the rest of his life. Upon graduation high school, Ivan decided to major in Japanese language and literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After graduating, Ivan immediately moved to Japan to teach English and he quickly cemented his love of everything Japanese.
He returned to the US in 1990 and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, and began his culinary training.
Upon graduation from the CIA, and stints at Mesa Grill, Lutece, and Restaurant Associates, Ivan returned to Tokyo to live in the country that he fell in love with. He had still never given thought to combining his love for cooking and Japan, but that was soon to change. Ivan was anxious to start a food-related business in Japan but was unsure of which direction to take. He thought about opening a cooking school, a sandwich shop, even a pizzeria. It was his wife’s suggestion that he open a ramen shop.
This move seemed destined for failure in a country where ramen enjoys a cult-like status. Incredibly,Ivan not only succeeded, but became one of the top ramen shops in Tokyo, an unheard of accomplishment for a foreigner. In 2010 a second shop, Ivan Ramen Plus, was opened. In 2012, Ivan returned to NY with the hopes of opening a business back home, while continuing to run his two shops in Tokyo. In the meantime his cookbook “Ivan Ramen” was published. His first venture in the US, Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, opened at the Gotham West Market on 600 11th Avenue in November of 2013 to huge crowds and critical acclaim.
Soon after, his US flagship, Ivan Ramen opened at 25 Clinton Street on New York’s Lower East side.
A United States manufacturer of ice cream, Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, commissioned an ice cream flavorology study to determine how ice cream preferences relate to personality. The study, conducted by Dr. Alan R. Hirsch (M.D.) neurological director of the smell and taste treatment and research foundation in Chicago, revealed that distinct personalities correspond with ice cream flavors.
According to the official taster for Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, the flavorology research is fun “food for thought” to discuss around the dinner table. Before serving dessert, ask your family and friends to name their favorite ice cream flavor, then give them the scoop on their personality.
- If you like vanilla, you are colorful, impulsive, a risk taker who sets high goals and has high expectations of yourself. You also enjoy close family relationships. Gregarious, lives a hectic life. Easily suggestible, expressive, idealistic; a private person.Prototype: Lovelorn housewife.
- If you like chocolate, you are lively, creative, dramatic, charming, enthusiastic and the life of the party. Chocolate fans enjoy being at the center of attention and can become bored with the usual routine. Seductive, well-dressed, extroverted, easily influenced, a follower, intuitive, enjoys intimate relationships.Prototype: Feminine woman, macho man.
- If you like butter pecan, you are orderly, perfectionist, careful, detail-oriented, conscientious, ethical and fiscally conservative. You are also competitive, aggressive in sports and the take-charge type of personality.Prototype: Executive, secretary.
- If you like banana, you are easy going, well adjusted, generous, honest and empathetic.Prototype: The perfect husband, wife, parent or child.
- If you like strawberry, you are shy, yet emotionally robust, skeptical, detail-oriented, opinionated, introverted and self critical. Easily made to feel guilty; cranky, pessimistic, low self-esteem.Prototype: Bureaucrat, journalist.
- If you like chocolate chip, you are generous, competitive and accomplished. You are charming in social situations, ambitious and competent. A visionary, a conqueror, enjoys being catered to, a go-getter, intolerant of defeat.
Prototype: Industry leaders, voted most likely to succeed in school
The flavorology research also compiled a compatibility chart for ice cream lovers.
If your favorite flavor is:
- Vanilla – you are most likely to be compatible with someone whose favorite flavor is also vanilla.
- Chocolate – you are most likely to be compatible with someone whose favorite flavor is butter pecan or chocolate chip.
- Butter pecan – you are most likely to be compatible with someone whose favorite flavor is butter pecan, chocolate or chocolate chip.
- Banana – you are compatible with all flavors.
- Strawberry – you are most likely to be compatible with someone whose favorite flavor is chocolate chip.
- Chocolate chip – you are most likely to be compatible with someone whose favorite flavor is butter pecan or chocolate
So, do you have a guess at which flavor Master prefers — or dievca?
Or would you be willing to let us know which flavor you prefer? XO
PS. dievca knows which flavor she would prefer above all others…
A little something from Crete, though it was cool that day.
It’s better for the weather here in NYC, 29.4 Celsius (85F) as I write…
Either way, the girl is adorable and sassy—kinda like dievca.
Photos: dievca 2016 Crete